This thirty day challenge may end up being a one year effort to put fingers to keys! Nevertheless, here’s day 6!
- Several weeks ago I was subcontracting for a gentleman who had an exceedingly difficult client ; and I’m not being hyberbolic in that description. In fact, I ended up walking out on the job. Left for lunch and didn’t return. Of course, I let the contractor know, and he understood completely. There really are people in the world who expect what feels like superhuman perfection from us. “Sorry, not sorry,” but I’m disinclined to play that game. Life really is too precious to compete with extra human or supernatural forces in order to please people who give so little grace to the Universe.Late in the afternoon of my second day there, I paused for lunch. In my area, there is only one relatively close Trader Joe’s, and we moved further from it when we bought a new house three years ago. Now, it’s a bit of a time luxury to go, but considering this client was giving me a headache with her “hospital corners” exactitude, I was grateful for the close proximity of a store I consider a happy place.
Why is TJ’s a “happy place,” a respite from a storm? Isn’t is just another grocery store? No, not to this artistic soul. The music is a perfect mix of oldies tunes to which one can easily make a fool of oneself in front of ten other people doing the same. It’s almost like the old “I’m a Pepper! You’re a Pepper” Dr. Pepper ads! The light isn’t overbearing, but “just right;” the store colors and packaging are spot on for an artist- bright and crisp- with beautiful line art. The flowers at the entrance are welcoming, and I don’t think I’ve ever met a grumpy TJ’s employee. So, when an overbearing client is harshing my mellow in the most excruciating of ways, where else would I rather be within a 2 mile radius? Trader Joe’s it is!
- Beautiful skies, particularly those near sunset, speak to my soul and whisper the lines from Alma 30:44 in the Book of Mormon: The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.
The majesty of massive cloud formations, the variety of colors filtering through the atmosphere, the miracle of light refraction seen in the manifestation of a multichromatic arc stretching across space- I cannot look at these things and deny the Creator of creation. There must be hundreds of cloud and sunset pictures on my phone from years of stopping to snap scenes that cause my heart to pound and words of gratitude to part my lips,”Thank you! Thank you for creating this just for us.”
- I’ve often pondered the parable of the Talents from Matthew 25. Easily, one could interpret the Lord’s words to refer to finances or spiritual gifts. For my purposes here, I’m going with the latter and considering my artistic talent to be endowment. developing, increasing my talent hasn’t been my forte, though using what I have has been. With that, I’d say I’m like the second man in the parable, the guy who received two coins, then doubled them. He got a small, but adequate start. Not so sad as to only get one coin worth of seed money, but not so respected as to get five. Have I doubled my coinage over my life time? No, I’ve still got work to do, but I am a problem solver, and I try to be realistic. As artists go, I’m good. Definitely not great, nor amazing, but in my very small sphere I do well. Figuring out where that sphere is, as it seems to keep bouncing away from me, is part of my problem (also known as ADHD). Nevertheless, there are those days when I finish a project or troubleshoot a situation at work, that a sense of gratitude overwhelms me, and I’m grateful for not burying those coins or giving up when the desire had my knees buckling.
- Grace. Such a small word, but the whole of the eternities is contained therein. For my purposes, however, I’m not referring to the Grace Christ conferred upon us through his infinite Atonement, but rather the goodwill that we impart to one another when we acknowledge their good faith efforts in light of our own failings and limitations. As a fallible, imperfect human with limited sight, as a mother, a wife, a friend, and particularly as an #tinycontractor, I need Grace in abundant measure; when I’m doing my best, I need my efforts to be recognized, not praised, really, but at least noted…and likewise, I must do the same for others.Life is challenging! As a whole, there is no doubt that statement is true. Good days, bad days, moments in between where it feels all is falling to pieces, which often comes on the heels of all going swimmingly well! La vida est loco! Illness, kids, spouses, zigging when we should have zagged!
Grace comes in when you pause to consider how your actions might be affecting another- then you stop doing those things. Grace comes in when you’re disappointed with another, then you pause to consider what might be the root of your frustrations, and choose to give that person the benefit of the doubt. Grace comes in when someone is trying their best, but falling short of your expectations, and you take a second or two to reexamine your expectations. Grace comes in when you think of your own bad moments and how you wish others had treated you, then you chose to be kind in stead of pugnacious.
Solo contracting is one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my 48 years. Success or failure is one one set of shoulders, and those shoulders are small and terribly human. I try to be careful about over promising, but I will admit to being the queen of “magical thinking” (read: I’m late, but no worries! I can drive 28 miles in 5 minutes!). By that I don’t mean I can’t deliver, but realistically, it IS going to take me longer than someone with a team or bigger, faster, sleeker equipment, and I’m likely to charge more because, like the local mom and pop store, I don’t make my profits by volume alone. With that, I’m so grateful when a client chooses me, despite those limitations; I’m even more grateful when they see those limitations and extend Grace when I’m “off” one day, and I need to rework something, or my family needs me, or I get a cold that puts me in bed or slows down my usually spastic self.
May we all give and receive Grace in equal measure, one to another. Peace out!